It's In the Bag
Story by Loren Wright
The need for agriculture extends back to the beginning of time making it one of the oldest industries to date. Sadly, younger generations lack knowledge about agriculture. That is why the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce strives to change this by hosting a program called Ag in the Bag each fall in conjunction with Texas Tech’s Ag Awareness week.
Mary Jane Buerkle, Vice President of Communications at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, and staff coordinator for Ag in the Bag, said the Chamber is in tune to how agriculture affects businesses and they want children to understand that
“Programs like these are so important because agriculture is business,” Buerkle, a Tech agricultural communications alumna said. “Our mission is to strengthen and promote businesses. If not for agriculture in this area the businesses couldn’t function. That’s why the chamber is involved; we see the need to educate what agriculture means to our economy and our business community.”
Ag in the Bag is a three-day event that hosts an average of 450 students from schools around the Lubbock area. The program’s target audience is fourth-grade students. Buerkle said the Chamber feels fourth-grade is an impressionable age and the students retain the information well.
Students can expect a full day of different agricultural programs. Volunteers from commodity groups give presentations ranging from milking a cow on a mobile dairy, to seeing how cotton is ginned with a mini cotton gin.
Buerkle said four years ago, the program began to incorporate Texas Tech’s Food Science center into their presentations. They wanted to add the Food Science Center to help showcase some of Tech’s qualities.
Buerkle said Tech has been great to facilitate Ag in the Bag and has allowed them to grow the program each year. She said she never sees the program going away.